Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Man Loved to Fish ... for Souls

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Man Loved to Fish ... for Souls

Article excerpt

Byline: R. Michael Anderson, County Line staff writer

When he could find the time in his busy schedule, Jack Hall loved wetting a hook in the St. Johns River or in a lake at Keystone Heights. But for more than half a century, he dedicated his life to another kind of fishing endeavor that was far more successful than reeling in black bass.

"He loved to fish, but he always said he'd rather go fish for souls than fish for regular fish," said Dare Hall, daughter-in-law of the man who spent 51 years as a Baptist preacher and became what she called "a legend to Clay County."

The Rev. Marion Jackson "Jack" Hall, whose ministry included 31 years as the pastor at Russell Baptist Church on Sandridge Road, died in his sleep Dec. 28 at the age of 87.

Hundreds of friends and relatives attended funeral services Monday at Russell Baptist Church, followed by burial at Shiloh Baptist Church south of Green Cove Springs, where Mr. Hall was ordained in 1950 and where his wife of 60 years, Thelma, was buried in 1995.

Born Feb. 26, 1914, in a little farm house six miles south of Green Cove Springs, Mr. Hall was the eldest of 13 children. When he was only 3 weeks old, Mr. Hall's parents took him for his first service at Shiloh Baptist Church, where he dedicated his life to Jesus Christ 16 years later.

Carolyn Roberts, a close friend of the Hall family, said Mr. Hall participated in numerous revivals during his gospel ministry spreading the word of the Lord, adding: "That was his goal in life, to see just one more soul saved."

Following open heart surgery in 1981, Mr. Hall retired from Russell Baptist Church but continued ministering to the spiritual needs of countless people and eventually served as a full-time pastor again at Decoy Baptist and at Bostwick Baptist until health problems forced him to retire again in 1990. …

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